Dear Annie: When I first met my wife, her sister, “Vicki,” was married with three children. Vicki then cheated on her husband and they divorced. Reluctantly, we let her new beau into our lives. Now, two kids into this marriage, Vicki was again caught cheating with a married man and is moving in with him and his three kids.
In the past seven years, Vicki has had five children with three different fathers. She lies constantly and never seems to think anything is wrong with her behavior. I told my wife I want nothing to do with Vicki’s newest boyfriend or his kids, and I don’t want our children exposed to their aunt’s behavior. My wife’s family acts as if nothing has happened. My wife thinks I’m being closed-minded. What do you say? — Storm Brewing in D.C.
Dear Storm Brewing: We agree that Vicki is a mess and we can understand why you don’t want to form a relationship with a married man who cheated on his wife. But your wife wishes to see her sister, and that apparently includes subscribing to Boyfriend of the Month. You can teach your children that such irresponsible behavior is wrong without cutting her off entirely. For major family gatherings, you should make an effort to be polite and serve as an example of stability to Vicki’s children. Otherwise, tell your wife she can see Vicki on her own.
Dear Annie: My daughter, “Gaia,” attends a small private school and is on one of the school sports teams where the parents are the coaches.
Gaia became friends with “Marisa,” the daughter of the coach. When Gaia had a party three weeks ago, she invited her entire class, and even included Marisa’s younger sister. During the party, we discovered Marisa is allergic to our cats, and although she had to take medicine, she was not otherwise affected.
Last week, Marisa had a party and everyone was invited except my daughter. To my knowledge, the girls haven’t had a falling out. I understand she can invite whomever she chooses to a party. However, I don’t understand how you can allow your child to exclude another, especially one who is a friend and teammate. Do you think it was about her allergy? How should I handle this? — Wondering
Dear Wondering: There is no excuse for parents to deliberately exclude one child out of an entire class. If it was the allergy, the parents should have explained that to you. It’s also possible Gaia’s invitation was lost in the mail, or if hand-delivered, Gaia may have misplaced it and felt too guilty to let on. The best thing you can do now is not make too much of this and show your daughter how to take the high road. Every unpleasantness is also a learning experience. However, if such exclusion continues, you should discuss it with the school principal.
Dear Annie: You agreed that “Just Wondering” had reason to be suspicious because her husband doesn’t allow her in his office and masks the personal phone numbers of female co-workers with initials.
Early in my marriage, I did not want my wife to suffer the indignities of my boorish co-workers. I wasn’t contemplating infidelity. I simply did not want her around my workmates. And plenty of innocent people would use initials in order to avoid confrontation with a suspicious spouse.
When wives distrust perfectly normal behavior, it’s no wonder their husbands become secretive. If “Just Wondering” feels the need to comb through his phone records for evidence of wrongdoing, either he has done something to create distrust or she has an unhealthy predisposition to suspicion. — Don’t Want to Be a Spy
Dear Spy: Sorry, we’re not buying it. The response to unwarranted suspicions should be complete disclosure. Overly insecure spouses need help, not more secrets.
Annie’s Snippet (credit Martin Luther King, Jr.): Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable. This is no time for apathy or complacency. This is a time for vigorous positive action.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611. To find out more about Annie’s Mailbox, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
Published in The Messenger 1.15.08